Accra, Feb. 16, GNA – The National Communications Authority (NCA) on Monday released the report of the Application Evaluation Panel (AEP) on the Interconnect Clearinghouse Services License and other relevant document for public access.
A statement signed by Mr William Tevie, the Acting Director-General of the NCA, said the report and documents could be downloaded from the NCA’s website at www.nca.org.gh, as a step in the interest of transparency.
According to the statement: “This is the final report bearing the signatures of all members of the panel that was presented to the Board of the NCA on 29th January 2015. The contents of the report are a true and accurate reflection of the exact findings and recommendations of the AEP”.
It said members of the AEP had publicly affirmed that the content of the report published, was a true and accurate reflection of their work.
The statement said: “The NCA ,therefore, refers to any other document, containing contents other than what the NCA has published and which was purported to be the original copy of the report from a member of the AEP as fraudulent and a total fabrication and should be disregarded.”
The NCA, therefore, rejected the claims made by Mr Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Ghana that he obtained an allegedly leaked copy of the report from a member of the AEP, and entreated him to publish his copy for proof.
In addition, the NCA responded to other claims published by IMANI on various media platforms regarding issues, which stated among others, that the 21-day time frame allocated for the evaluation panel to carry out its work was too limited for a proper job to be done; and that the NCA never reviewed the report of the Evaluation Panel; and had no prior guidance from its technical staff to assist it in its work.
The statement said the NCA had refuted all these allegations, explaining that the process began with an extensive public consultations as far back as November 2014, through various meetings and fora held with industry players, the Telecos, Parliament, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders.
The process, it said, involved the issuance of license to render specific set of services; and the NCA, based on its two decades plus of experience in regulating the sector, was confident that the time allotted for the process was adequate to allow for the necessary scrutiny as expertly done by the AEP.
It explained that the evaluation panel did not make the admission attributed to it, but clearly stated in page 12 of its report under Pre-qualification (Administrative), that the AEP observed that the administrative pre-qualification of applicants required in stage one of the process had not been done by commencement of work.
The AEP, therefore, decided that the two stages be combined into one process for the purpose of the evaluation.
The statement also denied claims that the NCA never reviewed the report as it was presented to the Board of the Authority on January 29, 2015 and was reviewed over a two-day period after which it was approved under the Chairmanship of Mr Albert Enninful, the Deputy Director-General of the NCA, who was also an Engineer by profession with vast experience.
The statement pointed out that the issue of previous capacity was not a requirement as none existed at the time in Ghana since that was the first time that a process was being undertaken to award a license for an Interconnect Clearinghouse Service, and given that no known Ghanaian company had performed the full range of services required under the license to be awarded.
It said the ability of the participants to perform the functions required was, therefore, based on the strength of their financial and technical capabilities as demonstrated in their applications.
The statement said: « the NCA Interconnect Clearinghouse Services was a novelty in Ghana, none of the companies who applied for the license, had any prior record of having rendered the full range of 14 different services required under the license either in Ghana or any other country.
“The NCA categorically rejects claims that the Panel manipulated its own scoring scheme to ensure that Afriwave came on top,” it said. “The true facts could be obtained from the true detailed report published. »
It reiterated that the mention of « transpositional errors » in their earlier encounter with the media was in respect of errors in the column of Subah Infosolutions Limited, which were detected and corrected by the AEP prior to the submission of the final report to the NCA Board.
It urged the media and public to contact the NCA for clarifications on the issues raised and any others relating to its functions.
IMANI Ghana has been alleging fraud in the process, which awarded Afriwave a license to operate an Inter Connect Clearing House (ICH).
An ICH provides a one-stop-shop point where all communication within the country and from overseas into the country would go for clearance before terminating on the intended network. The spectrum of communication which would go through the clearinghouse includes calls, SMS and data communication.
Apart from linking all the telecom networks in the country at one point, the Afriwave would also link all internet exchanges and serve as the operator that mandates all traffic as legal before that communication is allowed to continue to the intended network or customer.